Chieftains drop home opener
Home, almost sweet, home.
The Tonganoxie boys' basketball team played its first four games of the season on the road before playing host to Bonner Springs on Friday.
The homecoming was exciting, but the Braves pulled out the road victory, 56-52.
Bonner Springs' largest lead was seven; Tonganoxie's was three.
Tonganoxie (2-3 overall and 2-2 in the Kaw Valley League) led by three after the first quarter; Bonner Springs led by two, 25-23, at halftime.
The lead changed hands several times in the third quarter, and Bonner Springs led by one, 42-41 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, though, Bonner Springs (3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Huron League) started to put a slightly larger space in the gap.
The Braves took a 48-43 lead with 4:45 left in the game, their largest lead since the first half. Still, the Chieftains answered every Bonner score.
THS was down 50-47 with a Bonner Springs turnover at the 2:25 mark. But Tonganoxie turned the ball over on its next possession, and Bonner junior Jeremy Krug sank two free throws for a 52-47 lead.
Tonganoxie had one last surge.
After senior Chris Cobbins made two more free throws and extended the Bonner lead to 54-49, Tonganoxie senior Bryan Gurss made a three-point shot in a crowd of Braves, and the Chieftains were within two at 54-52 with 24.1 seconds left. That would be Tonganoxie's last score, and the Chieftains walked off with the court under .500 for the first time in the early season.
Another tough loss didn't concern Tonganoxie coach David Walker.
"Each game is a learning experience," Walker said. "It's about mental toughness."
Gurss finished the game with a team-high 19 points. Bonner Springs' Michael Cook had a game-high 22, including four three-point shots.